Cloetta recently pledged to purchase only UTZ Certified cocoa by the end of 2014 and told ConfectioneryNews that smaller chocolate firms had to join the big companies in committing to fully third-party certified cocoa.
‘A hygiene factor’
“In a year or two this will be a hygiene factor. All the big players have already done this,” said Thomas Wiesgickl, director of corporate responsibility at Cloetta.
“This is not a project drawn from profit thinking. This is about making sure we have volumes coming out of West Africa.”
He said that if the industry did nothing there would be a 1m metric ton (MT) cocoa shortfall by 2020 that would increase the cost of the commodity dramatically.
Third party certifiers reward farmers with premiums that can be reinvested in farm productivity. They also train farmers on best practices, labor rights and access to materials and credit facilities.
A prerequisite starting from now
Mars, Hershey and Ferrero have all pledged to source only third party certified cocoa from multiple organizations such as UTZ, Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance by 2020. Mondelēz and Nestlé purchase some certified cocoa, but have also developed their own sustainability programs and labels.
“This is not something you do to gain a competitive advantage. It’s a prerequisite for doing business in chocolate starting from now,” said Wiesgickl, adding that consumers expected corporate responsibility on the issue.
Credibility concerns for companies’ own programs